What are the Keys to Improving Patient Engagement?

(Original post by Colin Madigan - CLICK HERE)

Healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan.

Care delivery is evolving, with providers emphasizing collaboration with patients as a means to improve care outcomes. Patients are increasingly educated and invested in their own care, and are less willing to take what a physician says at face value. Instead, care is seen as a partnership where providers and patients make joint decisions that take into account individual lifestyles and concerns. This emphasis on patient engagement is leading healthcare experts to find the best ways to ensure long-term investment from patients.

Facilities and providers are using HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) satisfaction surveys to assess how well patients feel they are being served by specific providers. Measures like this could help foster greater trust between patients and providers, making it more likely for patients to stick to their treatment plans.

Technology and stronger patient engagement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) value-based reimbursement model rewards hospitals and care facilities based on patient health outcomes. This is supposed to incentivize providers to deliver comprehensive care in a cost-effective way, while keeping patients at the center of their own care. If healthcare is too costly or inconvenient, patients will struggle to follow physician recommendations.

Interoperability is one way providers are enhancing patient access to critical information -- from their physicians and from their own healthcare history. Patients can review their medical records, ask questions, and schedule appointments through online patient portals, which are integrated with facility electronic health record (EHR) systems. Because health and treatment information is all in one place, patients are empowered to take control of their own wellness long after they leave the examination room. Providers can also leverage this information for individual case management as well as to analyze population health trends in the surrounding community.

Leveraging the pharmacy for patient health

Pharmaceutical costs are rising across the U.S., reducing patient access to necessary medications. Unaffordable prescription drug prices are leading patients to take doses lower than recommended by physicians, and in some cases are preventing patients from filling prescriptions at all. Patients often don't alert physicians when they can't afford their medications, leading to health risks that physicians are not aware of. Industry leaders believe pharmacists could help alleviate this issue.

Pharmacists work with hundreds of patients every day, and can notify physicians when patients can't or don't pick up or refill prescriptions on time. Partnerships with pharmacists can help physicians identify which patients are at risk due to lack of access to necessary medication. In addition, pharmacists can reinforce the importance of adhering to a prescription regimen to manage chronic illness or disease.

Care providers and industry leaders are debating the impacts of pharmacists, care connectivity, and community on patient health to determine the best ways to improve care delivery and clinical outcomes. Visit us at the Xtelligent Value-Based Care Summit to learn more about the topics care providers are discussing every day.